REDDING — Joel Barlow is 17-0. It is the South-West conference boys’ volleyball champions. It hasn’t given up a set. It isn’t enough.
“We’ve been using the term, job not finished all year,” Barlow coach Kevin Marino said following his No. 1 seeded squad’s 3-0 victory over second-seeded Newtown in the championship match on Wednesday. “We have big aspirations. That is what we’ve worked toward from day one.”
Barlow’s string of titles has reached three. It’s run was interrupted by the pandemic last spring. This is the third straight final that Barlow has bested Newtown, which had won in 2016 and 2017.
Barlow’s Rys Robichaud was named MVP. The senior scored points from different spots on the court. He had the winning spike on match point in the 25-17 win in Game 3.
“It was good to win this one. Even though we won a good match, we have to stay humble,” Robichaud said. “It feels great to win. We must remember that we have another step ahead of us. We want states. We have to keep our heads up and keep going.”
Barlow took what Marino called “a punch’ from Newtown in the first set.
Jasin Kodzodziku had consecutive blocks to pull Newtown within 21-20. Robichaud regained serve with a deep kill.
Newtown’s Thad Teraskiewinz recorded an ace. Kodzodziku’s block tied game one at 23.
After a side out. Barlow’s Aydan Kloiber passed to Leo Houser, who set Aidan DePra for the game-winning point.
“They came out firing,” Marino said of Newtown. “They are so well coached, well prepared. Luckily we were able to take it and go from there.”
Barlow ran out to a 9-1 lead two serves into the second set. Woodie Janki and DePra punctuated multi-point runs from the stripe by Kloiber and Schmid.
Newtown, led by Aidan Stout, Eli Kirby, Sawyer Findley and Matt Mattera, staved off four game-points before Robichaud tipped home the 25-13 winner.
“We played a competitive game today,” Newtown coach Sandy Doski said. “We were ready from the beginning. Barlow’s a much stronger team. They made less mistakes. They didn’t give us a chance to get on a run. That is their strong suit.”
Strong play at the net marked the third set.
Newtown’s Janki, William Villhauer, Schmid and DePra made it difficult for Barlow while the home team had trouble getting spikes past Kodzodziku and Stout.
Barlow is seeded first in Class M. Newington is second. Barlow made the state finals in 2018 out of the third seed. Top-seeded Newington won the title 3-2.
Newtown at 11-5 is seeded 9th in Class L.
Both tournaments get under way on June 2.